RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — We haven’t hit $5 per gallon here in central North Carolina, but we’re not far from it. Experts say this is just the beginning.

A petroleum expert from GasBuddy says the national average hit the $5 mark nearly a week ahead of schedule. They initially projected that we’d reach it on June 17.

CBS 17 asked NC State supply chain professor Rob Handfield why prices are going up at a faster pace right now.

“Production levels aren’t keeping up with, you know, what the forecasts are, then you see the shortfalls, and that starts to also impact the global price for oil,” Handfield said.

The question many of us have is: how high will these prices get? Handfield says you’ll want to plan for at least $6 a gallon.

“I think it’s highly likely we’re going to hit $6 There’s maybe a 50 percent chance that it goes up to $7 and I think it’s unlikely we’ll hit $8. I think there will be some measures that will work before then,” Handfield said.

One of those measures was when OPEC announced plans earlier this month to boost oil production over the next couple of months, but it’s not clear how much of an impact it’ll have.

Brad Newman says with the chance of prices going up another couple of dollars, he’s doing whatever he can to save money.

“Really just drive less. I mean, even on the weekends when you’re trying to get people together, you’re like ‘let’s meet at one house’ rather than drive somewhere else or just stay at home, stay at the pool,” Newman said.

Experts tell CBS 17 gas prices are impacting other industries, so the higher those prices climb, the more you’ll have to pay for groceries and other items.